Belval, with its giant, crumbling industrial relics and lunar landscape is a movie-maker's paradise. So, when Luxembourgish director and scriptwriter Percy Lallemang was scouting for a backdrop for his latest movie, a post-apocalyptic Western called Hell Riders, he didn't have to look far.
The film, which is being made under newly-created asbl Renegade Productions, follows a band of brigands after a war, which has brought mankind close to extinction. Roaming from bunker to bunker in search of food and the fabled safe haven known as Dust City, hope comes in the form of one gang member.
“It's about a dysfunctional family and one of them becoming a sort of Messiah. It's quite violent and brutal,” explains Percy, adding: “They live in a society where there are no rules. Survival of the fittest applies.”
The semi-professional film is being shot in English, to make it easier to attract international attention, on a shoestring budget of 20,000 euros. With a cast and crew of some 35 people, all of which are volunteers, Percy explains that his biggest expense tends to be the catering.
“We already had quite a lot of props and costumes from previous movies. We need to give the actors an incentive. So we spend most of the money feeding people on-site because we can't pay them otherwise,” he said.
Percy has been making films since he was 12 years old and, though today he is a full-time English teacher, he does not let this stop him from pursuing his passion for the silver screen. Shooting is done at weekends and he has recruited students from the school where he works to help him with the film.
Chris, who plays a stuntman in the film, is among Percy's students. He said: “This is the first film I've worked on. I've learned a lot about how films are made: organising the filming and sets etc, closing roads. You realise how organised you need to be.”
For Percy the film is a chance to experiment with film genres. His last work, Symbiosis, was a modern psycho thriller adaptation of horror film Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, meanwhile he shot one film in which garbage bins began eating people. “Most of my films are a bit fantastical. Sometimes, I try to push the boundaries,” he said.
Hell Riders is expected to be released in December, 2012, with a premier screening at Caramba Cinemas, which is one of the production company's partners.
Find out more by visiting www.renegade.lu